Self-defense is serious business. Everything is on the line — your belongings, your valuables, and even your life. Protection can take many forms; some take to martial arts, others go so far as firearms, while many have neither the time nor the taste for either and choose to invest in simple, non-lethal and — generally speaking — legal self-defense options.
Much ado has been made by Hollywood about the efficacy of tasers and stun guns for spies looking to disarm a door-guarding baddie or subdue an innocent victim to pack into their trunk, but the truth is that both of these devices are most widely used to make the vulnerable feel safe. But with so much riding on making the right decision, it’s important to know how to choose your taser or stun gun.
Down below, we’ll explain what the difference between a taser and stun gun really is and make some recommendations in either category to help you protect yourself should you ever have the misfortune to need them.
Difference Between a Tazer & Stun Gun
When first wading into the self-defense market, many people can be forgiven for confusing tasers and stun guns for the same thing. Most of the time, the words are used interchangeably in television and film — where most people get closest to the real McCoy. In reality, stun guns are, perhaps ironically, closer-range contact weapons than tasers that generate an electrical charge between the prongs on the device itself.
The advantage of most stun guns is that they are more effective at penetrating clothing, as well as cheaper, than tasers; their most salient disadvantage, however, is self-evident: a stun gun requires its user to get up close and personal with their attacker, leaving them vulnerable and further introducing the possibility that the taser could be taken and used against them.
On the other hand, we have tasers which are constructed similar to a handgun, with a trigger and pistol grip. Tasers are ranged devices that fire a pair of prongs connected by a wire to the taser itself. These prongs dispense the charge of the taser and, unlike a stun gun which relies solely on the extreme discomfort of being shocked, amounts of electricity, causing neuromuscular failure in their target and rendering them incapacitated.
The advantage of the taser is quite clear; the added range affords their users a larger buffer against attacks. however, because most tasers come with only one shot, if you miss or the prongs fail to penetrate clothing or become dislodged, you will be left with no other line of defense against your attacker.
Best Tazers and Stun Guns (Police Grade)
Down below we will run you through some of the best picks for both tasers and stun guns. If none of the options below seems suitable for your unique self-defense needs, feel free to leave us a comment down below specifying the kind of features you’re looking for and will get back to you with a few more recommendations.
3 Best Tasers
Tasers also are, unbeknownst to some, actually a brand name rather than a generic name for the device itself. Indeed, “taser” is both short for “Tom A. Swift Electric Rifle,” and the name of the company, Taser International, which designs and manufactures all of these devices. Down below is a curated list of some of the best, most highly-rated tasers for different situations.
1. Taser Pulse+
- Price: $449.99
- Brand: Taser
The Taser Pulse+ is not only one of the more affordable options, it is also one of the most beginner-friendly. With a high-visibility LED flashlight and targeting laser, the Pulse+ makes it easy to operate in high-stress, high-risk situations and should be strongly considered by beginners to self-defense.
The Pulse+ offers the maximum range for civilian devices at 15′ and delivers neuromuscular incapacitation for up to 30 seconds. It also comes with a free trial to Taser’s Noonlight integration that immediately dispatches police to your location upon firing the device.
2. Taser X2
- Price: $1649.95
- Brand: Taser
While significantly more expensive, the Taser X2 is a professional, police-grade taser with formidable tactical capabilities. Not only does the device come with the assurance of a second backup shot it is also the only Taser that comes with a contact-stun feature when loaded.
These two features, when put together, provide the user with a much larger, possibly life-saving margin of error, with multiple layers of defense for when high-risk situations go horribly wrong.
3. Taser 7 CQ
- Price: $1799.99
- Brand: Taser
While the most expensive item on this list, the Taser 7CQ is one of the most comprehensive and highly rated self-defense options on the market. Tailor-made for real-life situations based on actual data, the Taser 7 excels at close to mid-range situations and offers a two-shot capacity for addressing multiple security threats or providing a life-saving backup.
Though it features a shorter range than other Tasers at 12 feet, this is entirely by design; the device specializes in the close contact range where most conflicts, statistically speaking, are likely to occur. Overall, the Taser 7 is excellent for home defense where individuals are most likely to be engaged in hallways, rooms, and other close-quarter settings.
5 Best Stun Guns
A good stun gun is capable of both defusing the threat of violence and reliable enough to be ready the one time you’re unlucky enough to need it. This means sturdy build quality, effective design, and maybe some extra utility to make your life easier and have you prepared. Down below is our handpicked list of some of the best stun guns for different situations.
- Price: $10.98
- Brand: Vipertek
With a 350 lm LED flashlight built-in, the Vipertek T03 is a solid option for security professionals who depend as much on vigilance as they do close-encounter self-defense options. One of the most impressive aspects of the T03 has to be its impeccable, aircraft-grade aluminum body — an incredibly sturdy, trustworthy design that seems more appropriate for something well beyond the price point of 10 bucks.
Considering the immense utility the device provides, it’s hard to argue anything else provides the same bang-to-buck ratio as the T03.
- Price: $19.99
- Brand: Vipertek
As opposed to the more general-purpose utility that the T03 provides, the 989 doubles down on the close encounter self-defense angle with extra-penetrative electrodes for piercing thick clothing and an anti-theft shock plate on the front of the device to protect it from being stolen mid-conflict.
These two features, alongside the ergonomic grip, provide serious stopping power for those who are simply not joking around when it comes to self-defense.
- Price: $23.99
- Brand: Sabre
While technically more than just a stun gun, the Sabre Self-Defense Kit provides a great value-for-money option for those in need of a robust emergency fallback when threatened. Not only does the kit provide an independently-tested, flashlight-mounted 1.60 µC stun gun, it also comes with an industry-leading, 25-burst pepper spray for added protection.
For the price of a two-person meal at your local fast-food joint, The Saber Self-Defense Kit provides an all-encompassing line of defense that just might save your life.
- Price: $22.45
- Brand: Streetwise
The Streetwise Smart Phone Stun Gun is a shockingly powerful – no pun intended — self-defense tool that can be armed discreetly and without alerting potential attackers. This makes it especially useful for preparation against attack in situations where some might be reluctant to reveal a stun gun in fear of embarrassment should their instincts prove wrong.
It should be noted that for the added discretion it provides, it does necessarily give ground in the capability department with a smaller set of electrodes than might be required to penetrate clothing.
- Price: $109.00
- Brand: Zap
The Zap Walking Cane is excellent for elderly individuals looking to dissuade potential aggressors But has also become incredibly popular amongst dog walkers of all people who have found the loud zapping sound and electrical arc to ward off would-be canine assailants (without actually hurting them).
While not as discreet as something out of a spy film, with a pretty obvious cattle prod like point at the end of the device, the fact that it functions as a real deal cane and provides a little extra range makes it a very suitable self-defense option for the elderly or anyone else reliant on an actual cane.
Haven’t found the taser or stun gun you need to feel safe? Let us know the kind of features you’re looking for or the use-cases you’re most concerned about, and we’ll do our best to hand pick a few recommendations tailored to your unique needs!